With the introduction of Center in 20.1 interaction with ATC on climb has seen some changes which we are going to outline below. Let’s run through a standard flight from Take-off upwards, specifying what to do depending on whether a specific frequency is active or not
- Once cleared for Take-off (TO) follow usual procedures and wait for a frequency change given by tower.
- If departure is active, or approach is acting as departure, you’ll be handed off to them. Upon contacting them if you have a valid FPL to your destination all you need to do is check in. ATC will respond with radar contact, at which point you can continue your cruise as normal. You should still be ready to be vectored off your FPL as and when required by the controller. If you have been vectored off continue on the vectored instructions until told to resume own navigation.
- If Center is also active then once you exit Approach/Departure airspace you will be handed off to centre, at which point you need to check in and continue as above.
- If Approach/Departure is not active yet centre is, you are likely to be handed off to centre following departure from Towers airspace. The same procedures are to be followed by pilots as in part 2 when handed off to Center by Tower.
- Once you have reached your cruising altitude, centre or no centre, then you do not need to worry about leaving your device as ATC can tell whether you are active at your device or not. If you are not active, we will leave you alone.
- If you are at your device and notice you are flying through an active FIR, then feel free to contact centre and check in.
One final point to note, if during any phase of your flight you are given a frequency change approved all you need to do it tune out. There is no need to contact another frequency.
I hope this helps a bit and enables you to engage with ATC better in 20.1 and beyond.